A nice card with view on tsaristic Revel, the Estonian Tallinn. Also in the postmark -here below- is used РЕВЕЛЪ [REVEL], seems more on the German indication Reval.
Revel is in this period capital of the government ЭСТЛЯНДСКАЯ (EHSTLYANDSKAYA) ГУБЕРНIЯ (GUBERNIYA), Estonian Government.
The postmark, resized 50 %.

In English Baedeker of 1914 we read about Reval:
"Reval (45 ft.) or Ревелъ, Esth. Tallina or Tannilin (i.e. 'Town of the Danes'), the capital of the government of Esthonia, contains 132,000 inhab. and is picturesquely situated on a bay of the Gulf of Finland. The town, which is more mediaeval in appearance than any other in the Baltic Provinces, is divided into three parts, the Upper Town or 'Dom' the Lower Town, and the Suburbs. The Dom lies on the Domberg, at the height of 140 ft. abopve the sea; the Lower Town, or town proper, the seat of the merchants and municipal authorities, extends from the Domberg to the sea, and is surrounded by promenades, the old bastions, and the tower-strengthened wall, dating from the 14th cent. and still well preserved in parts. The extensive Suburbs, beyond the town proper and extending along the shores of the bay, are the headquarters of a flourishing industrial activity."
From: Russia / Baedeker 1914. - p. 74-75
(see literature)
In Baedeker: 1 ft. = English foot = 0.3048 mètre.

This postmark, 25 VII 1903, of 'crossed date'-type with distinguishing-number '2' was in use 1900-1904.
At the top is indicated the town РЕВЕЛЪ [REVEL] and the government: ЭСТЛЯН [EHSTLYAN],short for ЭСТЛЯНДСКАЯ (EHSTLYANDSKAYA) Г. [G.], short for ГУБЕРНIЯ [GUBERNIYA], Estonian Government.
At the bottom of the postmark is placed information about the rank of the post office: ПОЧ. [POCHT.] ТЕЛ. [TEL.] КОНТ. [KONT.], short for Pochtovo Telegrafnaya Kontora, Post-telegraph office.

The adress-side. Original print size of this image: 14,207 x 9,152 cm (is something more as the postal item)

This picture and all pictures below on this page, if not mentioned otherwise: scanned about 300 dpi. Then set right and cut out - noted the actual print size-, resized 25 % of this image and saved as jpg.

With the Peace of Nystad Estonia is officially a part of the Russian Empire, but already in 1710 is Tallinn under Russian administration. Then also start the postal history within the Russian Empire. Between 1710 and 1796 there are no postmarks. From 1796 the first pre-philatelic cancellers (Tartu) and handwritten markings in Estonia are reported.

The post office of Revel/Tallinn is opened in the 17th century. The first postmark was in use 1799-1800: type 1B3G in the EESTI handbook, place name only, without frame, text in German, so Reval.
In the EESTI handbook (see literature) are mentioned more postmarks:
of Revel/Tallinn are listed 31 pre-philatelic different postmarks.

As aboved mentioned, Revel (Tallinn) was capital of the Russian Governement Estonia, now the northern part of Estonia. The southern part of contemporary Estonia was is tsaristic times the northern part of the government Livonia.
On the dutch map here, printed 1880, you see the the borders of the tsaristic government Estonia and the northern part of Livonia.

This picture is resized 50 %.

Detail of a map from 'Wereld-Atlas voor kantoor en huiskamer / door J. Kuyper. - 1e Deel Europa. - Amsterdam : G.L. Funke, 1880

Numerical dot cancel of Revel: 1858-1863

Resized 50 %

With the introduction of postage stamps -1 January 1858- also the necessity of cancellation comes into existence. In the beginning postmarks of the former period were still used for the date on the backside of the cover in combination with 'cancelling' by a writtencross in black ink. Of course this was not efficient and the cancellation could be removes for re-using the postage stamp until the introduction of number-cancellations.
The numbers "1" and "2" in circles of dots were introduced as number-cancellations for St. Petersburg and Moscow in circular no. 138 of 26 february 1858. The other towns had to use the old postmarks until the coming of new cancels.Circular no. 1847 of 31May 1858 introduced these kind of cancellations for whole Russia. The circular no. 157 of 17 august 1858 gives more details.

A number (3 to 60) surrounded by points in the form of three concentric circles belongs to capitals of "guberniya", centers of districts, centers of militar districts, S.Petersburg and Moscow.
The postmark above: #37 belongs to Revel (Tallinn) as capital of Estlyandskaya guberniya, in the EESTI-handbook type 2C, used 1858-1863.

For cancellation of postage stamps were used then the new number-cancellations, but sometimes the hand written cross and older datestamps from the time before the postage stamps.

With the circular no. 53 of 12 April 1860 were introduced the new standard-postmarks in whole Russia. With the introduction a regulation ordered that the cancellation of the postage stamps must be done by the number-postmark, and the date-indication by the new one-circle standard-postmark.
The number-dot cancellations were withdrew by circular 123 of 11 February 1863.

The EESTI-handbook
(see literature) gives also a list of the circle date-stamps -single ring and double circle- datestamps: 64 of the Reval Post Office.

The first seven are of the Fleuron-type (single ring). The next 5 are type posthorn, single circle, posthorn below, name and number, code 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 (type 4A2).

After 1860: the new one-ring-postmarks with only cyrillic letters (only Moscow and St. Petersburg got a double-ring-postmark) were introduced, first only as date-stamp (in combination with the numeral cancel), and soon as cancellation of the postage stamp.
At the top the place name, date in three lines, the month in cyrillic letters, underneath that the year. At the bottom an ornament. In smaller places the name of government came in the place of the ornament, but Revel (Tallinn) was also the capital of the government and so it held the ornament.
In later postmarks is at the bottom is more information: ПОЧТОВАЯ КОНТОРА (POCHTOVAYA KONTORA = Post office).
Until 1884 this was a type of post office, which served a large town, and was under direct control of the Chief Office (Pochtamt) of the postal district.
This new one-circle standard-postmark:
in EESTI-handbook are listed for Revel two different types

  • Date in three lines, month in letters, Gubernia (Government) not given, below the indication for the post office ГУБ. [GUB.] ПОЧ. [POCHT.] КОНТ. [KONT.], short for Guberniya Pochtovo Kontora, Government Postoffice (type 6B3), code numbers 6 and 7, so as on the card here below.
  • Date in three lines, month in letters, Gubernia (Government) at top, below the indication for the post office П.Т.К. (type 6A1), code numbers 1 and 2

More postmarks are used on this card, sent from Revel to Pernov in 1888: cancelled with the postmark of the railway postoffice in the Baltic Railway station (8 ), also on the card the standard one circle datestamp (9), the postmark of the TPO -travelling railway office- of line 39, and the arrival-postmark of Pernov, the Estonian Pärnu

Original print size of this image: 14,309 x 9,102 cm (is something more as the postal item)

In the standard postmark of Revel - on this picture the left one,
9 НОЯ [NOYA.] 1888- is at the bottom indicated ГУБ. [GUB.] ПОЧ. [POCHT.] КОНТ. [KONT.], short for Guberniya Pochtovo Kontora, Government Postoffice, type 6B3 in EESTI.
НОЯ [NOYA.] is short for НОЯБР [NOYABR], November. The month in the postmark above is still in cyrillic letters and the year remains directly under the month.
The other postmark - the right one 8 НОЯ [NOYA.] is the postmark of of the railway-postoffice in the Baltic railway station in Revel The Baltic Railway station in Tallinn: picture see Tallinn in the Estonian Republic 1914-1918 In this railway-station postmark is indicated the line at the bottom: БАЛТIЙСК [BALTIISK] Ж. Д. The last letters are the abbrevation for ЖЕЛЬЗНОЙ ДОРОЖКИ [ZHELEZNODOROZHNIY DOROGA], railway.

TPO, travelling Post Office, line 39-40
This postmark on the card is a railpost-postmark of TPO, travelling post office, line 39. This postmark is used 1883-1891 for the line St. Petersburg-Revel. No. 40 was used for the other direction: Revel-St.Petersburg.
A section received an uneven number for the outgoing route from the controlling station post office, and a even number for the reverse direction. The TPO 39-40 -and other TPO's on the territory of the later Estonian Republic fell under the administration of the 1st. section of the Imperial Post in St. Petersburg.

In 1870 the railway between St. Petersburg and Estonia is opened and 24 Oktober the TPO (Travelling Post Office) 39-40 started:
ГАТЧИНА [GATCHINA] is located 45 km south from St. Petersburg. Baedeker (1914) about this place: "The town, with its numerous villas and shady streets, is the private property of the imperial family." From: Russia / Baedeker 1914. - p. 186 (see literature). БАЛТIЙСКIЙ ПОРТЪ [BALTIISKII PORT] is indicated on the map above on the north-western coast, since 1933 the Estonian name is Paldiski.

The oldest postmarks of this route are the circular (single) cancels, with date in three lines:

  • 1871-1879: with both section numbers, e.g. 39-40, and below the number of the cancel itself in parentheses. In addition next to the day of the date the code numbers of the intermediate stations.
  • 1879-1881: with one section number ( 39 or 40) and below the cancel number between ornaments. Also with the station code numbers next to the day of the date.

The stationcode numbers: to the left of the date the code number was indicated (sometimes side-ways) of the station where the postal item had been delivered. This number had to be changed at every station. It was, however, not facile in its use, and in 1881 these station number codes were abolished.

From 1881 the route 39-40 changed: ПЕТЕРБУРГЪ - РЕВЕЛЪ [S. PETERBURG - REVEL].
In 1881 the station code numbers were abolished and the next years - 1881-1897 postmarks still had the date in three lines, with one section number.

On the card above it is not so clear why the postmark of TPO 39 is used: the card is sent from Revel station post office to Pernau/Pernov, the Estonian Pärnu. Which way the card had to follow?

The cover here it is clear the cover is delivered somewhere on the line and is transported by TPO 39 in direction of Reval/Tallinn. On the backside of the cover is placed an arrival stamp of Revel.

Original print size of this image: 14,690 x 8,340 cm
(is something more as the postal item)

In 1894 the first 'cross-date'-postmarks are used for route 39. For route 40 in 1899 appear the the cross-date postmarks.

Original print size of this image: 14,131 x 8,975 cm
(is something more as the postal item)

In 1906 the railway line from Kegel (Keila) to Hapsal (Haapsalu) was ready and then the route of postal route 39-40 changed:
In 1911 the new postmarks came in use for this route: oval double circles, with indication of number and both terminals.
On the card here the oval postmark С. ПБУРГЪ 39 ГАПСАЛЪ [S. P. BURG 39 GAPSAL]. This postmark-type of line 39 is reported with code letters абвгд (the first 5 -writing- letters of the Russian alfabet), and also е is possible.

These postmarks were in use 1911-1913: then the route changed again.

18-4-1913: С. ПЕТЕРБУРГЪ - РИГА [S. PETERBURG - RIGA], and this we see in the postmarks.


On this card -sent in 1917- in the postmark the indication of St. Petersburg has changed in ПЕТРОГРАДЪ [PETROGAD]: the old name sounds 'too German' during the World War I.
This type postmark of route 40 is used 1915-1918 (1921), with seven different code letters.

Original print size of this image: 13,928 x 8,873 cm
(is something more as the postal item)

Literature about postal railway-line 39-40:

  • Treinpost in Estland (1870-1918) / Alexander Epstein. - In: Het Baltische Gebied 2005 ; 46. - p. 46-62 [route 39-40, Revel railway station, route Derpt-Taps and the railway stations, route 89-90]
  • Treinpost in Estland (1870-1918), deel 2 / Alexander Epstein. - In: Het Baltische Gebied 2005 ; 47. - 28-39 [route 125-126 and railway station Valk, route Valk-Pernov, route 239-240 and railway station Revel Harbour, route 271-272}
  • Russian railway postmarks / by A.V. Kiryushkin and P.E. Robinson. - 1994. - 180 p.

From june 1884 there were also two new types of offices: the Post-telegraph Office (Pochtovo-Telegrafnaya Kontora), as we have seen here, for a greater city, and a Post-Telegrapyh Sub-Office (Pochtovo-Telegrafnoe Otdelenie). These offices combined both services: post and telegraph.

In june 1884 the postal and telegraph departments were united. In the beginning of the telegraph (since 1866) there were scarcely connections between the post and telegraph, but it was too expensive to let it separated.
The later postmarks of Revel then gives more information than the early one-ring-postmarks: at the bottom is indicated, ПОЧ. [POCHT.] ТЕЛ. [TEL.] КОНТ. [KONT.], short for Pochtovo Telegrafnaya Kontora, Post-telegraph office.

In circular 13 of 5 April 1890 the instruction arrived to use Roman numerals for new stamps. This happened on suggestion of the U.P.U., the Universal Postal Union.
Also the postmarks in Russia change in the 'crossed date'-type. In the middle the day stays first, under it the month (in Roman numerals), left of the whole the century and right the rest of the year.This type you see on the first card on this page with distinguishing-number '2', but more clear on this card alongside with distinguishing-number '5', in use 1901-1906.

Original print size of this image: 14,105 x 9,254 cm
(is something more as the postal item)
The other side of the card.

The postmark, resized 50 %.

In the EESTI handbook (see literature) are mentioned more 'cross-date' postmarks, 2 different types, the first listed postmarks:

  • Month in numerals, with Gubernia (Government) and below the indication П.Т.К. (type 6C1), code number 1 with diameter 27 and 29.
  • Month in numerals, Gubernia not given, and below the indication П.Т.К. (type 6D1), code number 1
  • Type 6C1, with code numer 2, diamer 27, 26, and 28 mm
  • code number 3: nor reported, but must be somewhere
  • code number 4: four different: type 6D1 (27 mm), type 6C1 (26 and 28 mm), type 6D1 (29 mm)
  • Code 5 and 6 are type 6D1, code 7 and 8 are type 6C1, code 9 and 10 are type 6D1

Double circle date-stamps.

On the card here you see a new postmark of Revel/Tallinn: double circle with РЕВЕЛЪ [REVEL] between the rings. In Circular No. 9 of February 3, 1903 these double ring postmarks are introduced: with the bridge-date: day, month and year. The century is not indicated and the month is in arabic numerals.

Original print size of this image: 14,131 x 9,076 cm (is something more as the postal item)

The image on the card shows the Russalka Memorial, a bronze monument , erected on 7 September 1902 in Katharinental, in Estonian Kadriorg, in that time near Tallinn (now outskirts), to mark the ninth anniversary of the sinking of the Russian warship Rusalka, or "Mermaid", which sank en route to Finland on September 7, 1893. The angel is holding an Orthodox cross towards the assumed direction of the shipwreck. About the ship: see Wikipedia.
Baedeker 1914: "...Katharinental (Pl. F,2); Restaurant with concert-garden), an imperial château, surrounded by a fine park. Peter the Great, who was a frequent visitor to Reval, erected the château in 1719 (architect Michetti) and presented it to his wife, Catherine. ..... On the adjacent STRAND PROMENADE (vies; sea-baths) is the Rusalka Monument (Pl. F,1), erected in 1902 to commemorate the loss of the man-of-war of that name in 1893. The bronze angel on the lofty granite pedestal is by Adamsohn."
From: Russia / Baedeker 1914. - p. 78-79 (see literature)

According the circular the new postmarks were ro replace the existing ones as soon as they wore out. In the circular instructions are given regarding the manufacture and usage of the new postmarks. Details of these instructions in the handbook 'Russian postmarks' (p. 40-41) (see literature):

  • uniform postmarks according the examples given, new postmarks in two sizes (large for cancelling and a smaller for receipts)
  • circular with place-name between two rings, changeable figures for day, month and year horizontally in one line, in the year "19" is omitted
  • place-names for guberniya, oblast and uezd town without mentioning the region. The name of region is to be added (short as possible), if several towns has the same name. Small towns and villages the region is added. Within a region with more places with the same name: also the uezd is added.
  • postmarks of town offices and sub-offices must give their own particular code in arabic numerals: in Revel we get РЕВЕЛЪ 1, 2 and 3.
  • replacing a postmark (worn out or lost) must have the same serial

In the EESTI handbook (see literature) are mentioned 29 different double circle postmarks of РЕВЕЛЪ [REVEL] :

  • double circle with Gubernia (Government) not given (type 7B1), two stars and code letter a etc: * * a, Of this type are 27 postmarks reported
  • double circle with gubernia not give,indication of type post office below (type 7B5): 1 postmark with П.Т.К.
  • double circle with gubernia not given, one postmark (type 7B2) with three stars ***, without code letter

As we have seen РЕВЕЛЪ [REVEL] has also two types machine cancellers with double circle date-stamps:
with 8 straight lines (type 8A) and without lines (type 8B).

The sender is member of a club of collectors (see stamp of 'Globus'): the postage stamps on the picure site, a tcv-card , that means Timbre cõt&233; vue. Because of the bad financial situation of Russia the postal rate for cards abroad is increased on March 8, 1889: 4 kopecks (in the Asian parts of the Empire on April 1, 1889). So it remained until into the First World War. But thre was also another postal rate for printed matter between April 1, 1879 and August 14, 1917: 2 kopecks for inland. Early 1900 (to November 30, 1915) it was also permitted to send cards according this rate, but the message must not be more than five words. For abroad there was also a postal rate for printed matters (June 19, 1875 to August 31, 1917: 2 kopecks.

The sender of this picture card has made printed matter of his card fot the postal rate of 2 kopecks: on the address side the indication ПО:Ч1058;О&1042;АЯ [POCH TOVAYA] КАР*#1058;ОЧКА [KARTOCHKA] ,Post card, is scored out, and written the indication 'Drucksache' (german for Printed matter) and in cyrillic ПЕЧАТНОЕ [PECHATNOE], printed matter.

This letter from РЕВЕЛЪ [REVEL], is sent via the railway-postoffice, in the postmark is indicated ВОКЗ:АЛЪ [VOKZAL], railway station.

In Circular No. 9 of February 3, 1903, which introduced the double ring postmarks, are also mentioned the postmarks for the railway post: "Postal wagons must use oval postmarks.... Railway post offices must also use oval postmarks, but thr name of the place is to be given above, and the abbreviated form of "VOKZAL", "VOKZ." below. If more than one vokzal is situated in a town, an abbreviated form of the name of the railway is to be added to "VOKZ."." From the handbook 'Russian postmarks' (p. 40) (see literature):

Apparently the letter is postage free, but when we look to the address, it is clear why:
at the top is-underlined - the new name for St.Petersburg, Petrograd, and then 3th School preparatory by Cadets Corps Adjutants, Imp. Alexander II. After that an unit or rank: 'Junker-I-platoon E. Schultz.
In all countries (?) militairy mail is postage free.

Original print size of this image: 14,258 x 9,381 cm (is something more as the postal item)

The postmark, resized 50 %.

On this card from Revel, send December 15, 1909, is used an older postmark of the railway station post office. It is an 'cross-date'- postmark and this type is used in the period 1898-1910, code numbers 1 and 2. There are also two versions: in the text below are used the cyrillic letter Yat on different places: ѣ, in translitteration the letter is represented by e and in modern Russian the letter is no longer used.
About this letter, see:
The postmark with code number 1 has in the first version (1901-1908) in the word below -ZHELEZNODOROZHNYI (Railway)-Yat as second letter (fourth letter is then Е).
The postmark with code number 1 has in the second version (1909-1910) in the word ЖЕЛѣЗНОДОР(ОЖНЫЙ) [ZHELEZNODOR(OZHNYI) below as the second letter the Е and as fourth letter the ѣ (Yat). So -as-you see- in the postmark of this card.
After this postmark is used the oval postmark -see letter above- with code letters а and б
, used 1911-1917.
An overview of the railway post in Estonia 1870-1918: see article of Alexander Epstein (see literature).


Card, sent from ГАПСАЛЬ [GAPSAL], the Estonian indication is Haapsalu.

Original print size of this image: 14,182 x 9,076 cm (is something more as the postal item)

The postmark, resized 50 %

According the EESTI-handbook
(see literature) in the 17th century a 'post office' was already open in ГАПСАЛЬ [GAPSAL]. The Post Office became a Post and Telegraph Office in 1887. In the tsarist periode there are used 9 pre-philatelic postmarks, a dots postmark (square, distric post office, number385) and 15 different circular date stamps (9 single circle and 6 double circle.

The 6 double circle postmarks are all of the same type: double circle, Gubernia (Government) not given, below two stars and code letter (type 7B1).
The double circle postmark on the cover below has two stars and code letter * * a. There are two different postmarks of this type with * * a: font thicker (used 1911-1916, this one on the cover below) and font thinner with (used 1917-1918).

The other double circle postmarks are with the following -writing - letters of the Russian alphabet: the second letter, two different postmarks with the third letter (diameter 30 or 25 mm), and -finally- a postmark with the fourth letter г [G].
This last is the code letter used in the postmark of the card above. This postmark is used in the period 1911-1917.

On the card here below the code letter is not clear, but looking to the pictures in EESTI -place of the Гin relation to the line above the date, I suppose is is the same as the card above.

The cover below has a postmark with * * a, sent 1912: font thicker (used 1911-1916).

Haapsalu, in German and Swedish Hapsal, is located on the west coast of Estonia.
On the map above the place is indicated on the west coast of the government Estonia under the name Hapsal.

Original print size of this image: 14,309 x 9,178 cm (is something more as the postal item)

The postmark, resized 50 %.

Baedeker (1914) describes the journey from Riga to Revel, 'by sea via Arensburg."
"Steamboat twice weekly to Arensburg in 8½ hrs. (fares 5 and 3 rb.); to Hapsal in 17-18 hrs. (fares 6 and 4 rb.); to Reval in 25-26 hrs. (fares 6 and 4 rb.). Stoppages are not reckoned in the above times. Dinner, 1¼ rb. (first class) or 1 rb. (second class). in spring and autumn most of the steamers leave Arensburg untouched. .... ... ... After quitting Arensburg, the steamer at first pursues an easterly course, and after a voyage of 4½ hrs. anchors off Kuiwast, on the island of Moon. It thence proceeds to the N. through the Great or Werder Sound, passing on the right the lighthouse of Werder and the rocky island of Schildau, and in 3 hrs. reaches Hapsal."
From: Russia / Baedeker 1914. - p. 72-73 (see literature)

Original print size of this image: 13,801 x 11,413 cm (is something more as the postal item)

The postmark, resized 50 %.

Baedeker (1914, p. 73) continued:
HAPSAL, ГАПСАЛЬ, Esthonian Haapsalolin (... .. .. ), the capital of the district of Wiek in Esthonia, is situated upon a bay and contains 3300 inhabitants. It was founded in 1279 and contains the picturesque ruins of an episcopal palace, with which the Lutheran church has been incorporated (good view from the tower). It is frequented for sea-bathing and mud-baths. - Railway (station in the S.W. part of the town) to Reval, see p. 79.
The steamer leaves Hapsal in the same direction in which it approached it, ...... .. ".

In 1279 the town became the centre of the Bishopric of Ösel-Wiek (or Saare-Lää), then a tiny state. Also today you can see the buildings of the episcopal castle with the cathedral (the largest single-nave cathedral in the Baltic).
In 1825 Carl Abraham Hunnius founded the first mud cure resort. As a summer resort of the tsarist court Haapsalu got a railway connection with St. Petersburg in 1905. In 1907 was built a train station especially for the Romanov family, and this station is now part of the Estonian Railway Museum. Thehe cruing mud in Haapsalu brings here Russian imperial family members like Alexander I, II and III, Peter I and Nikolai II. Today there are three mud cure establishments.